You never forget your first made-to-measure suit. You’ll land your dream job in that suit, ask her to dance in that suit, be the best man in that suit. And it’s because you’ll never forget, that we at F.E. CASTLEBERRY make ours with Vitale Barberis Canonico cloth.
The venerable Italian mill has single-mindedly woven the most beautiful cloths since 1663—the year that Turkey declared war against Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, the year that Japanese Emperor Reigen ascended to the throne—to put things aptly into perspective. There’s something special there. Maybe it’s the fact that V.B.C. is the world’s oldest cloth mill, or that it’s (still) family owned, or its commitment to championing Italian manufacturing through innovation, its commitment to the northern town of Biella, the environment, its archives, and its moral code. Or maybe it’s because their fabrics simply have a hand that is unmatched.
While steeped in over 350 years of tradition, it is that very tradition that propels Barberis Canonico to the cutting edge. An impossible pattern? They’ll weave it. A lightweight wool? They’ll make it lighter. Impeccable craftsmanship? They’ll pursue it to the ends of the earth (technically, the other side of the globe but that doesn't roll off the tongue as easily). They’re one of the very few weavers in the world that own their own sheep farms (two, to be precise), in the rolling pastures of Australia’s Mudgee region. Owning allows for the breeding of sheep that provide raw wool of consistent quality, a crucial foundation in the mill’s proprietary seven step process.
We love Barberis cloth not only because of their amazingly soft grey flannels and Prince of Wales checks, but also because these extraordinary fabrics are made specifically to meet the needs of hand-canvassing (every jacket we make is fully hand-canvassed). The quality is unparalleled and far from coincidence. It is intentional. Much like us, V.B.C.’s obsession with quality, consistency, and precision borders madness. The result is a garment we’re proud to hand-sew our name into…a garment that wholeheartedly embodies the F.E. CASTLEBERRY spirit.